Burma Campaign UK is delighted that the British government has finally announced its intention to join the Rohingya genocide case at the International Court of Justice. Burma Campaign UK launched our campaign for the British government to join the case almost three years ago.
“For decades the Burmese military have been allowed to violate international law without consequences, encouraging them to commit genocide and attempt another coup,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “We are delighted that the British government has finally joined the Rohingya genocide case. They will bring vital additional resources and expertise, as well as sending an important political message.”
The British government has faced sustained pressure to join the case, including from Rohingya civil society organisations, Rushanara Ali MP, Co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on democracy in Burma, the Foreign Affairs Committee, opposition political parties, more than 100 MPs, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and international human rights groups.
The Burmese military has enjoyed impunity for decades, despite widespread documentation of numerous violations of international law, mainly against ethnic and religious minority groups.
The sense of impunity encourages further violations of international law. The failure to act to prevent Rohingya genocide and then the failure to hold the military to account for Rohingya genocide would have encouraged the military to believe they could get away with the coup and subsequent violations of international law without facing serious consequences.
The Rohingya genocide is not over. The laws and policies which are an integral part of the genocide continue, and the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice to prevent ongoing genocide are being ignored by the military.
Burma Campaign UK also welcomed the imposition of new sanctions on three businesses working with the military that are helping them to earn money and buy arms. The companies are Star Sapphire Group of Companies, International Gateways Group of Companies Limited (IGG), and Sky One Construction Company Ltd.
Burma Campaign UK calls on the British government, as penholder on Burma at the United Nations Security Council, to convene a meeting of the Security Council to discuss progress in implementing the provisional measures, as the ICJ is a UN court, and its ruling is being ignored. The British government must also reverse cuts in funding to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
“This move by the UK is the result of years of advocacy by Rohingya communities, British MPs, members of the public and international human rights and humanitarian organisations,” said Anna Roberts.